So, now that the dust has settled from that semi-wild Game 2, the Yankees head to Philadelphia for a long, long three days at Citizens Bank Park. There will be no designated hitter — which means no Hideki Matsui and Joe Girardi having tons of fun with the double switch — and the crazy Phillies crowd is sure to be deafening and insane. Last year, in this position, Philadelphia returned home and never left, sweeping the Rays to finish the series in five games. To make sure your Game Six tickets have value, the Yankees only have to sneak out one win. The good news is that if the Yankees are ever going to start hitting again, this is the park in which to do it.
When you’re facing starting pitchers who performed the way Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez did in Games 1 and 2, you’re going to have some struggling hitters, and the Yankees have plenty. The team has fourteen hits in the series so far, nine of which are by Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada. Everyone else is 5-for-44, with a batting average of .114.
At the top of that list, of course, is Alex Rodriguez, who is eroding memories of his outstanding ALDS and ALCS with an 0-for-8 start, including a whopping six strikeouts. As much as they try to hide them, eventually, someone in this series other than Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Mariano Rivera is going to have to pitch. That means the Yankees need to start hitting. Immediately.
Girardi hasn’t announced Sunday’s Game 4 starter, but the odds are still that it’ll be Sabathia. Game 5? Burnett on three days’ rest? Gaudin? What about Game 6? Will there be a Game 6? The Yankees have tons of rotation questions that need answers. But none of that matters if they can’t hit the ball. The team is averaging two runs a game in this World Series. If they do that over the next three games … they won’t make it back to the Bronx at all.